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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

ASLRRA: Short-line tax credit bill attracts over 100 co-sponsors


The Building Rail Access for Customers and the Economy (BRACE) Act (H.R. 510) garnered its 100th co-sponsor in the House as of Feb. 11, the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) announced yesterday.

Introduced Jan. 11 by U.S. Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), the bill proposes to make the Section 45G short-line tax credit permanent. As currently structured, the credit enables regionals and short lines to claim a 50-cent tax credit for each dollar they spend on track rehabilitation and maintenance projects, up to a cap of $3,500 per mile of owned or leased track. The tax credit has been extended numerous times since 2005 and last expired at 2017's end.

The bill has rapidly generated bipartisan support and House member backing is on a record pace, with 106 co-sponsors signed on in just four weeks, ASLRRA officials said in a press release.
"Clearly there is at least one thing Congress can agree on — the need to invest in small railroad infrastructure that keeps goods moving from small town and rural America into the U.S. and world economies," said ASLRRA President Chuck Baker. "This credit provides the ability for railroads to invest more of their private dollars in infrastructure improvements, ensuring the safe and efficient movement of goods for our more than 10,000 customers."

A companion bill in the Senate (S. 203) — which was introduced Jan. 24 by U.S. Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) — already has landed 18 co-sponsors, including the original 11 from when the BRACE Act was first proposed last year.

"We urge Congress to act now to extend the short line tax credit into 2019 and beyond," said Baker. "Delaying action defers the benefits of this credit to all the thousands of customers and communities that depend on it."

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